CHECKLISTS

Timothy and Titus – Inconspicuous Leadership

1 Timothy 5 checklistI am a list maker…even in retirement from my secular work. For me, what doesn’t get listed, doesn’t get done. It is also very rewarding for me to check that item off the list when it is accomplished. The list has a progression of priorities. One task cannot happen until another task is completed. And so life goes with my lists guiding my behavior and productivity.

As I journal each morning in my conversational prayer with God, the Father, His Spirit guides me to make another list that helps me to mature and grow in Him. I am convicted of some of those “fruits of the Spirit” that I have not tended to or cultivated, have ignored or left undone. His Holy Spirit redirects my thoughts and helps me form a list of tasks that will help me improve my behavior. “Keep a close check on yourself”, writes Paul to Timothy. For me, that means to make a spiritual checklist that keeps me in close contact with the will and purpose of our Father, God and helps me to grow closer to Him.

We can do nothing of significance without God. I am convinced that He guides us to all things that are good for our growth and aid our learning about Him and how He works. Paul also gives Timothy sound advice about how to treat those whom God has called to lead with character traits with another list of how to lead. This list still applies to us today. The theme of this episode seems to be; Know God, Know Yourself, Know The Message, Know Your Audience. Our deeds, good and bad, will be evident. Be driven by God’s love in us.

1 Timothy 5, The Message

17-18 Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching. Scripture tells us, “Don’t muzzle a working ox” and “A worker deserves his pay.”

19 Don’t listen to a complaint against a leader that isn’t backed up by two or three responsible witnesses.

20 If anyone falls into sin, call that person on the carpet. Those who are inclined that way will know right off they can’t get by with it.

21-23 God and Jesus and angels all back me up in these instructions. Carry them out without favoritism, without taking sides. Don’t appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily. If a person is involved in some serious sins, you don’t want to become an unwitting accomplice. In any event, keep a close check on yourself. And don’t worry too much about what the critics will say. Go ahead and drink a little wine, for instance; it’s good for your digestion, good medicine for what ails you.

24-25 The sins of some people are blatant and march them right into court. The sins of others don’t show up until much later. The same with good deeds. Some you see right off, but none are hidden forever.

1 Timothy 5 check yourselfLEADERSHIP PRINCIPLE #6: Keep a Close Check on Yourself

Leadership Characteristics –

–Fully rely on God. Trust Him with all you are and all you have. We are His. All we have is His.
–Ask God “if there is anything offensive to you, cleanse me.” as the Psalmist prayed.
–Repent with a heart and mind not wanting to return to the old life.
–Look full into the face of Jesus, our Master, Lord and Savior with laser focus so we know what direction to take next.
–“Keep a close check on yourself.” Avoid, “he did it, I can, too” or “my sin is not as bad as his sin” or “everybody’s doing it” mentality.
–Ask God for wisdom, insight and understanding.
–Allow God’s transformation to continue in our lives.
–Ask God to make your lists of to BE and to DO. HE will prioritize your lists in ways you cannot imagine! Where He guides, He provides help all along the journey.
–Do all in a Spirit of love for God and others.
–Care enough to confront others with God’s love and concern for their spiritual well-being and growth.

Warning   The things on our spiritual check list can never be crossed off because we’ll be working on them our whole lives. By listing we are reminding ourselves of what we need to work on to “keep a close check” on our lives. It is only by The Atonement of Jesus Christ can we accomplish anything of eternal significance.

Dear Heavenly Father,
You have convinced me that we must do spiritual “business” with You each day to improve our being in You. Thank you for helping us on this journey. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit that points out things in our behavior that could cause us to crash…before crashing. Thank you for always being with us, guiding and directing, loving and protecting and challenging us to grow and bear Fruit. Continue to transform me. Transform your church. Transform the world through your church.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION

Luke – Wide Open Doors!
 
Luke 22 pray
Jesus knows His mission is to die for the sins of the world. He has been focused on God’s Plan since the beginning of time. But know, hours before the suffering to complete the plan, He “went as usual to the Mount of Olives to pray”. Jesus was tempted as the Son of Man in the wilderness but stood firm as the Son of God in God’s plan of salvation for all who repent, believe and follow Jesus. Was Jesus being tempted by the evil one once more?
 
In our passage today, just hours from the cross, Jesus asks God for confirmation of HIS will for Jesus in this plan. Jesus knows before He asks what the answer will be. But He prays still, with so much energy, agony and passion for the sins of the world that his sweat fell like blood drops on the ground. Jesus knows God’s will was more important than His comfort. But He also knows the suffering will be great and the result will be a cross of humiliation and death before rising again to finish the work.
 
Luke 22 JesusWas He tempted one more time by the evil one to stop God’s Plan? Is that why the Son of Man prayed continuously, without ceasing, alone with God, His Father throughout His ministry on earth and even now in the last moments of mission completion? But Jesus, Son of God, lays down His will for God’s will,
 
“Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
 
Is that why he told his disciples repeatedly to “Pray that you will not give in to temptation” because if the Son of God is tempted, we will be tempted, too? YES!
 
luke-22-mount-of.jpgPraying daily that we would not yield to temptations, asking God to “deliver us from evil” strengthens our focus on God and His plan for our lives. When we are following Jesus with all that is in us, the evil one will fight back with all that is in his simple, limited arsenal. He will lie to us, cause us to second guess, introduce fear back into our lives causing us to wonder if the time of suffering, mocking and teasing is worth following God’s plan for us to join Him in his work to help others find and follow Him, restoring a pure, holy, intimate relationship with Him.
 
Luke 22 I haveJesus prayed for his disciples, for Peter specifically, that his “faith should not fail”. Jesus knew what was going to happen to him. He knew Peter well and knew what His response would be to a threat against his beloved Friend when arrested in the garden. This is why He asked Peter and the others to pray so they would not be tempted, but they fell asleep.
 
Jesus passionately prayed for God’s will for Him and for his disciples to be done. He asks them to pray for themselves. Jesus knows Peter will deny him. He knows Peter will be tempted to follow him from a distance. The rest of the disciples ran as soon as the betrayal kiss was placed on the cheek of Jesus. But that’s not who Peter is. He loves Jesus deeply. Jesus loves him.
 
LUke 22 prayer isJesus also knows that (Simon) Peter will be sorrowfully repentant as soon as the words, “I don’t know this man” comes from his lips a third time. So He tells Peter before it happens, “I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
 
Judas the betrayer was later regretfully sorry he did the deed of getting caught up in the temptation to sell out our Lord, but he was not repentant for the sin. There is a difference between regret and remorse. Regret is sorry you got caught. Remorse leads to repentance and a turning away from the sin of self.
 
Remember, Jesus taught Peter, “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:13, NIV). But in the trouble, Peter forgets. Jesus forgives Peter and the rest is history! Because of Peter, (and many others) God’s church is alive today!
 
Luke 22, New Living Translation
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
 
luke-22-tempt.jpg31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
 
33 Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”
 
34 But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
 
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or an extra pair of sandals, did you need anything?”
 
“No,” they replied.
 
36 “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one! 37 For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’ Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.”
 
38 “Look, Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.”
 
“That’s enough,” he said.
 
Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
39 Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. 40 There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”
Luke 22 Jesus praying
41 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. 44 He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
 
45 At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”
 
luke-22-faith.jpgDear Friends reading this today, I believe for every temptation avoided, through the power of prayer, our lives experience another extreme growth spurt in our maturing faith! So, we must continually pray that we will not give in to temptation. Hour by hour. One day at a time.
 
Our Father In Heaven,
Hallowed be Your Name.
May your Kingdom come, YOUR WILL be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us THIS DAY all you know we will need.
Lead us NOT into temptations but DELIVER us from all evil and evil’s schemes to destroy us. Keep us alert and focused.
For YOU have all power.
The power of Your Holy Spirit lives in us.
So, to YOU be all glory, honor and praise forever and ever.
In Jesus Name, Amen! Yes!
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THE LAST TIME TO BE TOGETHER

Luke – Wide Open Doors!
 
Luke 22 his lastWhen a loved one dies in your family, you immediately look back to the last time you were together. You think about what they said and you reflect on every word. You remember their behaviors in all circumstances of this life. If it was a loving relationship, your heart aches. If you know they are with God because of their admitted salvation in Jesus, then you rejoice in the heartache. It is a strange mix of feelings but that’s how it is.
 
If the relationship was one of betrayal, what do you feel?
 
Jesus, God and man, knew that Judas would betray him but he served him at the Passover meal along with the rest of the disciples who would soon run from the trouble that Jesus was about to endure…for them….for us.
 
Luke 22, New Living Translation
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
 
The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching. 2 The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction.
 
3 Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, 4 and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. 5 They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. 6 So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around.
 
Luke 22 last supperThe Last Supper
7 Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, “Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.”
 
9 “Where do you want us to prepare it?” they asked him.
 
10 He replied, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, 11 say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ 12 He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.” 13 They went off to the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there.
 
Luke 22 given
14 When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. 15 Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. 16 For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”
 
Luke 22 remember17 Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”
 
19 He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
 
20 After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.
 
21 “But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me. 22 For it has been determined that the Son of Man must die. But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays him.” 23 The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing.
 
Luke 22 greatness redefined24 Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. 25 Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26 But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 27 Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.
 
28 “You have stayed with me in my time of trial. 29 And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right 30 to eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
 
Luke 22 serveWHAT DO WE LEARN?
 
There are so many lessons to be learned in this passage:
 
*Jesus loved ALL his disciples but they had free will to make choices in their lives.
 
*Jesus served as an example for us to serve…even our enemies.
 
*Jesus prayed for ALL his friends and for his betrayer. Jesus taught us to pray for our enemies.
 
*Jesus served his friends AND his betrayer. This is a different kind of love.
 
*Jesus explains how He is different and how we will be different. “I am among you as one who serves”.
 
*Jesus knows all hearts. He knew where to set up the Passover meal to who would betray Him after the meal. Jesus knows our hearts.
 
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
Thank you for all you have done to save us from our own sins. Thank you for patience with us as we grow deeper in love with You, learning to live by your example. I have not arrived so I welcome your work of salvation in me, helping me to be more what you created me to be. Yes, forgive us our sins. Deliver us from evil. Keep us focused on you, alert and ready to serve at your command. You are our King of kings and LORD of lords. You are everything I need or want. Thank you, Lord.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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ALL OR LEFTOVERS?

Luke – Doors Wide Open!
Luke 21 all
Anyone ever go to church camp as a teen? Did you wonder why the appliances in the kitchen were old and barely working? Did you wonder why the dorms and other buildings were crooked and airy with holes, allowing small critters to come in at night and take up residence over the winter? Randy and I remember a ravine in the back of our church camp property where old appliances were dumped that just would work any longer. It was quite a graveyard. How did this happen? Why did this happen?
 
Luke 21 two mitesPeople gave their leftovers to the work of salvation, changing the spiritual address of youth and young adults forever while helping them develop the most important relationship they will every have in their lives…an intimate, growing relationship with Jesus Christ! Even when we were young, Randy and I wondered why people gave broken down appliances to camp instead of investing in what worked. In some cases, old stoves were a safety hazard!
 
What about our thinking back then (and now) about giving to those on mission fields. Do we take or send new items or that which we have discarded? I know a true story of a church who saved their USED tea bags then sent them to missionaries as a “gift”.
 
Do we give all or our leftovers? What about those in our own communities? New or used from our own surplus? Jesus notices these differing attitudes in the Temple. He sees a widow who embraces giving in the way that pleases God and points her out to his disciples and others around him. She gave all and she gave quietly.
 
Luke 21, New Living Translation
The Widow’s Offering
Luke 21 everything21 While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. 2 Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.
 
3 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. 4 For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”
 
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
 
Jesus and his followers have arrived in Jerusalem. The work will go on until Jesus finishes the mission God sent Him to complete. The disciples are in awe of the beautiful structure around them. They do not see what Jesus sees. They do not notice what Jesus observes. It all started with the arrival in the temple of a poor widow with an offering for the Lord. Compared to the gifts of the rich men, her two copper coins seemed insignificant, but Jesus said that she gave more than all the others combined. “The widow’s mite” does not represent the LEAST we can give, but the MOST, our very all.
 
When it comes to our giving of time and money, God sees more than the portion; He also sees the proportion. Men see what is given, but God sees what is left, and by that He measures the gift and the condition of our hearts. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” He may have learned that from Jesus (Luke 6:38) or perhaps from Paul (2 Cor. 8:1–15).
 
The temple was a beautiful structure, embellished with many costly decorations that a poor widow could never give, and the disciples mentioned this to Jesus. But our Lord was not impressed. He told them that the day would come when the beautiful Jewish temple would be demolished (Luke 21:5–6). He had already announced that the city would be destroyed (Luke 19:41–44), but now He specifically mentioned the destruction of the temple.
 
Jesus Speaks about the Future
5 Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, 6 “The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”
 
7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?”
 
Luke 21 faith
8 He replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and saying, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t believe them. 9 And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately.” 10 Then he added, “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven.
 
12 “But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. 13 But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. 14 So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, 15 for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! 16 Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. 17 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish! 19 By standing firm, you will win your souls.
 
Luke 21 glory20 “And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of its destruction has arrived. 21 Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. Those in Jerusalem must get out, and those out in the country should not return to the city. 22 For those will be days of God’s vengeance, and the prophetic words of the Scriptures will be fulfilled. 23 How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. For there will be disaster in the land and great anger against this people. 24 They will be killed by the sword or sent away as captives to all the nations of the world. And Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the period of the Gentiles comes to an end.
 
25 “And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. 26 People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. 28 So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”
 
Luke 21 be ready29 Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. 30 When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. 31 In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. 32 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
 
34 “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, 35 like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. 36 Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”
 
37 Every day Jesus went to the Temple to teach, and each evening he returned to spend the night on the Mount of Olives. 38 The crowds gathered at the Temple early each morning to hear him.
 
MORE TO LEARN AND THINK ABOUT…(With the help of Warren Wiersbe, Commentator)
 
Jesus left the temple and went to the Mount of Olives, and there Peter, James, and John asked Him three questions: (1) When would the temple be destroyed? (2) What would be the sign of His coming? (3) What would be the sign of the end of the age?
 
The disciples thought that these three events would occur at the same time, but Jesus explained things differently. Actually, the temple would be destroyed first, and then there would be a long period of time before He would return and establish His kingdom on earth
Luke 21 His word
Keep in mind that this was a message given to Jews by a Jew about the future of the Jewish nation. Though there are definite applications to God’s people today, the emphasis is on Jerusalem, the Jews, and the temple. Our Lord was not discussing His coming for the church, for that can occur at any time and no signs need precede it (1 Cor. 15:51–58; 1 Thess. 4:13–18).
 
Remember, the things Jesus described here are not signs of His soon return, because they have been going on for centuries. However, as the coming of the Lord draws near, these things will multiply and intensify. No matter what our views may be of the coming of the Lord, we all need to heed His three admonitions: “Don’t be deceived! Don’t be afraid! Don’t worry!”
 
If believers during that difficult age will be tempted to yield to the world and the flesh, Christians in this present age of comfort and affluence must face even greater dangers. We today do not know when our Lord will return, and it behooves us to be faithful and to be ready.
 
Luke 21 truth
“I’m not looking for signs,” said the late Vance Havner; “I’m listening for a sound.” The sound of the trumpet! The shout of the archangel!
 
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).
 
All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live
 
All to Jesus I surrender
Humbly at His feet I bow
Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Take me Jesus take me now
 
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all
 
All to Jesus I surrender
Make me Savior wholly Thine
Let me feel the Holy Spirit
Truly know that Thou art mine
 
All to Jesus I surrender…
 
In Jesus Name, Amen
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ONLY JESUS!

Luke – Wide Open Doors!
Luke 20 Christ
Luke 20, New Living Translation
Whose Son Is the Messiah?
 
41 Then Jesus presented them with a question. “Why is it,” he asked, “that the Messiah is said to be the son of David? 42 For David himself wrote in the book of Psalms:
 
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
43 until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.’[f]
 
44 Since David called the Messiah ‘Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his son?”
Luke 20 declares
45 Then, with the crowds listening, he turned to his disciples and said, 46 “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. 47 Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.”
 
JUST TO BE CLEAR…
Luke 20 gospel
While the Pharisees were still gathered together, Jesus asked them a final question: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” (Matt. 22:41–42 nkjv). This is the key question for every generation and each individual, for our salvation and eternal destiny are dependent on what we think about Christ (1 John 2:21–25; 4:1–6; 5:1).
 
Jesus then referred them to Psalm 110, which is quoted in the New Testament more than any other psalm. The Jewish religious leaders in that day identified Psalm 110 as a prophetic psalm and said that David was speaking of the Messiah. But if the Messiah is David’s Lord, how can He be David’s son? Here was an enigma for them to solve!
 
Luke 20 debate overThe only explanation is that Messiah must be both God and man. As eternal God, Messiah is David’s Lord, but as man, He is David’s son.
 
On Palm Sunday, the multitudes had acclaimed Jesus as the Son of David, and He had not rebuked them (Matt. 21:9; Mark 11:10). By applying Psalm 110:1 to Himself, Jesus claimed to be Israel’s promised Messiah, the Son of God.
 
luke-20-no-debate-1.jpg
Then why did the Pharisees not believe in Him? Because their minds were made up, their hearts were hardened, and their eyes were blind (John 12:37–50). They did not have the courage to confess the truth, and they persecuted those who did affirm faith in Jesus Christ. Christ’s question silenced His enemies (Matt. 22:46) and ended their public challenges, but they would not admit defeat.
 
Because of their hypocrisy and dishonesty, the scribes and Pharisees were dangerous to have around, so Jesus warned the people about them (Luke 20:45–47; see Matt. 23). Men see the outside, but God sees the heart (1 Sam. 16:7; Heb. 4:12).
 
These religious leaders did not desire personal holiness; they wanted public recognition. Therefore, they wore special garments, expected special titles and greetings, and looked for special seats at public gatherings.
 
There is a double tragedy here. First of all, their deliberate hypocrisy was only a cover-up that enabled them to fool people and exploit them. Of all rackets, religious rackets are the worst. The religious leaders had turned the temple of God into a den of thieves and religious devotion into playacting. The general public actually thought that their leaders were godly men, when in reality they were defiling and destroying souls (Matt. 23:13–36).
 
Luke 20 died for our sinsThe second tragedy is that they rejected their own Messiah and voted to crucify Him. They led the nation into ruin because they would not admit their sins and confess Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that these men were “experts” in the Bible, yet they did not apply its truths to their own lives. Their religion was a matter of external observance, not internal transformation.
 
Luke 20 rose
This same tragedy is reenacted today. This is why the Holy Spirit warns, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 3:7–8). “How often I wanted to … but you were not willing” (Matt. 23:37).
 
It’s not too late…Turn to the One and Only Jesus. Confess your sins to Him. Believe and follow. Trust and obey Jesus. He will hear and forgive. He loves you more than you can imagine!
 
Our prayer. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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WISDOM AND TRUTH AMAZES Part Two

Luke – Doors Wide Open!
 
Luke 20 bride
We are so small in our thinking when it comes to analyzing life, aren’t we? Consider this. What is our first reaction to someone who becomes sick? Instead of simply saying I’m sorry you are sick, we reason why they are sick. You must have picked up a germ when you… You must have been out in the cold weather too long. You must have a weak immune system, you should have that checked out. Who is your doctor? Maybe you should find another doctor who will keep you well. Sound familiar?
 
When there is a death in the family or among our friends, we come up with reasons why they probably died and worse yet, because of our small thinking, we say stupid things to the grieving. “Well, it probably was for the best because…” Ugh.
 
We think there always has to be a because as we try to do life. We second guess. We try to explain. We try to reason.
 
Luke 20 husbands
Jesus takes the Sadducees on a journey of higher thinking. It is SAD-YOU-SEE that this zealous group did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. They are living a life with no hope. Their only goal in life is to follow The Law and all they added to the law. After these religious leaders tried to trip Jesus up using His Word, Jesus teaches the Truth in His Word of who God is and what HE thinks. Truth (Jesus) and Wisdom (skills for thinking and behaving like Him) come together to teach us. Amazing!
 
“And then no one dared to ask him any more questions.”
 
Luke 20, New Living Translation
Discussion about Resurrection
luke-20-resurrection.jpg
27 Then Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. 28 They posed this question: “Teacher, Moses gave us a law that if a man dies, leaving a wife but no children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name. 29 Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children. 30 So the second brother married the widow, but he also died. 31 Then the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them, who died without children. 32 Finally, the woman also died. 33 So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her!”
 
34 Jesus replied, “Marriage is for people here on earth. 35 But in the age to come, those worthy of being raised from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage. 36 And they will never die again. In this respect they will be like angels. They are children of God and children of the resurrection.
Luke 20 Moses
37 “But now, as to whether the dead will be raised—even Moses proved this when he wrote about the burning bush. Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, he referred to the Lord as ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 So he is the God of the living, not the dead, for they are all alive to him.”
 
39 “Well said, Teacher!” remarked some of the teachers of religious law who were standing there. 40 And then no one dared to ask him any more questions.
 
Luke 20 alive
HOLY PAUSE…
 
How long has it been since you had a discussion with God in prayer about life situations and circumstances?
 
Because of the cross work of salvation of Jesus Christ, our Savior, Lord, and Advocate to the Father, we can ask anything we want and God will answer.
 
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” –Jesus (John 14:13-14, NIV)
 
Want wisdom? Ask for it!
 
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” James 1:5
 
Luke 20s risenWhat do we learn?
 
Seek Truth.
Ask for Wisdom from God.
Be loyal to God alone.
What matters most is our relationship with God.
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
You give us new insight and perspective every time we come to you in prayer, read your Word and ask for wisdom. Thank you for guiding us to your higher, heavenly thinking. You show us Truth, unchanging, when we seek you. You give us wisdom when we ask. Help us to know you more and more each day. Help us to think more like you so we will behave more like you taught us when you walked this earth and continue to teach us in the power of Your Holy Spirit. I believe that you died for my sins and the sins of the rest of the world. I believe that you rose again, defeating the enemy of death. I believe that when my time on this earth is ended, I will be with you forever. Thank you, Lord. I am and will be eternally grateful.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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WISDOM AND TRUTH AMAZES

Part One
 
Luke – Wide Open Doors!
 
Luke 20 no debate
Have you ever known and observed certain people in your family, church or work situations who remain silent in a gathering of those who are in debate? They are silent because they are listening with focused minds. They are not listening with minds that are thinking of how they will join into the discussion. They are truly just listening. They see the issues of both sides. Their minds think beyond the issues before speaking.
 
Then a solution that no one else thought of begins to take shape in their minds. They see what no one else sees. When people like the silent listeners speak, people lean in to hear what they have to say because it is amazing that the silent are speaking at all. As they speak debaters hear wisdom, a new perspective, insight, and understanding. It causes those in debate and in the crowd to stay silent long enough for the “ah-ha” moment to hit them. Their insightful words amaze everyone.
 
Jesus is God’s Son. Jesus is Truth. Jesus listens, knows the hearts of everyone and speaks wisdom beyond the minds of mankind because His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He is God. But we learn from Him that true wisdom is fed by love, mercy and grace. Watch as Jesus provides answers to those sent to trap him in his words in this passage and in the passages that follow tomorrow.
 
Luke 20, New Living Translation
Taxes for Caesar
 
Luke 20 coins20 Watching for their opportunity, the leaders sent spies pretending to be honest men. They tried to get Jesus to say something that could be reported to the Roman governor so he would arrest Jesus. 21 “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you speak and teach what is right and are not influenced by what others think. You teach the way of God truthfully. 22 Now tell us—is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
 
23 He saw through their trickery and said, 24 “Show me a Roman coin. Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”
 
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
 
25 “Well then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”
 
26 So they failed to trap him by what he said in front of the people. Instead, they were amazed by his answer, and they became silent.
 
Luke 20 render
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
 
Jesus knew that the men who questioned Him were spies sent by the Pharisees and the Herodians (Mark 12:13), but He patiently listened and replied. These two groups were usually fighting each other, but now they had a common enemy, and this brought them together. They wanted to discuss taxes and Roman authority, hoping to provoke Jesus into offending either the Jews (“Pay the poll tax!”) or the Romans (“Don’t pay the poll tax!”). But Jesus lifted the discussion to a much higher level and forced the spies to think about the relationship between the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of men.Luke 20 got nothing
The spies ultimately lost that round and went silent. Can you imagine the scene? Eyes wide, the spies look at Jesus then look at each other, shrug their shoulders with “I got nothing.”
 
HOLY PAUSE…
 
When has the wisdom of God affected your life in such a way that it amazed you?
 
What was your reaction?
 
How did it change your heart and behavior?
 
Luke 20 see Who
Caesar’s image and name were on the coins, so it was basically his currency. To pay the poll tax meant simply to give Caesar back that which belonged to him.
 
God’s image is stamped on us; therefore, He has the right to command our lives as citizens in His kingdom. We should seek to be such good citizens that God will be glorified and the unsaved will be attracted to the gospel and want to become Christians (1 Peter 2:9–12; 3:8–17).
 
It is unfortunate that some Christians have the mistaken idea that the more obnoxious they are as citizens, the more they please God and witness for Christ. We must never violate our conscience, but we should seek to be peacemakers and not troublemakers. Daniel is also an example to follow (Dan. 1).
 
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
You are Creator of all and in all. There is no one like you in all that you created. You are Truth. You provide the skills for living this life on earth. We just have to ask. So, Lord we are asking for your wisdom, insight and understanding as we grow closer to You, loving and behaving more like You each day. Teach us to be peacemakers with your wisdom in us. You are God and we are not. Help us to listen, truly listen before speaking. Help us to be gracious and kind in all our responses. You spoke Truth in love. Help us to do the same.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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RESPECT

Luke – Wide Open Doors!
 
Luke 20 boss
Undercover Boss” is a show that depicts CEO’s of chain businesses going undercover to their own stores in various locations, doing various jobs around the store while interacting with the employees. Depending on the employee’s impression, it will prove to the boss how important the job is to them. Originally, the show was created in response to corporate distrust, as echoed in the introduction of the first two seasons.
 
Each episode features a high-positioned executive or the owner of a corporation going undercover as an entry-level employee in his or her own company. The executive changes appearance and assumes an alias and fictional back-story. The fictitious explanation for the accompanying camera crew is that the executive is being filmed as part of a documentary about entry-level workers in a particular industry.
 
They spend approximately one week undercover, working in various areas of the company’s operations, with a different job and in most cases a different location each day. The boss is exposed to a series of predicaments with amusing results and invariably spends time getting to know selected company employees, learning about their professional and personal challenges.
 
At the end of the undercover week, the boss returns to his or her true identity and calls in the selected employees to the corporate headquarters. The boss rewards hardworking employees through campaign, promotion, material, and/or financial rewards. Other employees are given training or better working conditions.
 
Tears flood (oh, is that just me?) when employees who served well are rewarded beyond their wildest dreams.
 
Mm, isn’t that close to what Jesus is talking about in our next passage? Jesus, Son of God, did not go undercover. He was who He said He was while walking the earth, seeking and saving the lost, restoring hope to the hopeless, healing the sick, serving instead of being served and yet the religious elite only saw the importance of themselves. They did not recognize the One they had been waiting for as Messiah because their blinded eyes to Truth stopped looking. They were no longer servants of God but people who wanted to be served, to be gods seeking power, position and prestige. They cheated people charging temple taxes beyond what the people could afford in order to line their own pockets.
luke-20-respect.jpgSo, they had no respect for Jesus. They criticized Him, refuted his authority and plotted to kill Him. They forgot God. Left God. When reminded of God by His One and Only Son, their hardened hearts, closed minds and sick souls plotted to kill the One sent from the Father.
 
“I’ll send my cherished son. Surely they will respect him.”
 
But they did not.
 
Luke 20, New Living Translation
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
 
luke-20-authority.jpgOne day as Jesus was teaching the people and preaching the Good News in the Temple, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. 2 They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?”
 
3 “Let me ask you a question first,” he replied. 4 “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?”
 
5 They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. 6 But if we say it was merely human, the people will stone us because they are convinced John was a prophet.” 7 So they finally replied that they didn’t know.
 
8 And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”
 
Parable of the Evil Farmers
9 Now Jesus turned to the people again and told them this story: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and moved to another country to live for several years. 10 At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers attacked the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. 11 So the owner sent another servant, but they also insulted him, beat him up, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 A third man was sent, and they wounded him and chased him away.
 
13 “‘What will I do?’ the owner asked himself. ‘I know! I’ll send my cherished son. Surely they will respect him.’
 
14 “But when the tenant farmers saw his son, they said to each other, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ 15 So they dragged him out of the vineyard and murdered him.
 
“What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do to them?” Jesus asked. 16 “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others.”
 
“How terrible that such a thing should ever happen,” his listeners protested.
 
Luke 20 chief cornerstone17 Jesus looked at them and said, “Then what does this Scripture mean?
 
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.’
 
18 Everyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.”
 
19 The teachers of religious law and the leading priests wanted to arrest Jesus immediately because they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the people’s reaction.
 
THINK ABOUT IT…
 
Jesus had already told the Twelve to expect conflict and suffering when they arrived in the Holy City. “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day” (Luke 9:22). Jesus knew fully what was coming, and He was not afraid.
 
They challenged Him because He had cleansed the temple and called them “thieves.” They tried to catch Him in His words so they could trump up some charge against Him and have Him arrested as an enemy of the state.
 
Luke 20 see GodBut there was more to this series of questions than mere guile. The word translated “rejected” in Luke 9:22 (and also Luke 20:17) means “to reject after investigation.” It was required that the Jews carefully examine the Passover lambs from the tenth day to the fourteenth day to make sure they had no blemishes (Ex. 12:1–6). Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God (John 1:29), was watched and tested by His enemies during that final week, and yet in spite of what they saw and learned, they rejected Him.
 
However, Jesus was also examining them! For as they questioned Him, He questioned them, and their responses revealed the ignorance, hatred, and unbelief of their hearts.
 
In this parable, Jesus illustrated the insidious nature of sin: the more we sin, the worse it becomes.The tenants started off beating some of the servants and wounding others, but they ended up becoming murderers! The Jewish leaders permitted John the Baptist to be killed, they asked for Jesus to be crucified, and then they themselves stoned Stephen.
 
They sinned against the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and that was the end of God’s witness to them. It is a serious thing to reject the message of God and the messengers of God (see John 12:35–43; Heb. 2:1–4).
 
Luke 20 Gods wayHOLY PAUSE…
 
Do we reject/disrespect God by our behavior?
 
Do we seek power and prestige over being a servant of God?
 
Lord, examine my heart. See if there is anything offensive to you in me. Cleanse my heart. Restore the joy of YOUR salvation in my soul. Renew a right Spirit of pure, holy motivation in me that comes from you and returns to You. To you be the glory, honor and praise! You are God and i am not.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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